Google, Chrome, US Marines, More: Tuesday Buzz, November 20, 2016

Y’all, I am so, so sorry. I got a pile of work dropped on me and last night I had to choose between sleep and ResearchBuzz. Sleep won. Hopefully today will not be another 15-hour day and I can get back on schedule. My apologies!


Google has launched “Team Drives” in what looks like early beta. “Google is opening up applications to businesses interested in testing its new file-sharing product called Team Drives. Announced earlier this fall, the focus of Team Drives is to offer companies an easier way to share files across their organization, along with more granular access controls over the content those shared folders contain.”


Gizmodo: The Most Useful Chrome Extensions Ever Made. One of the rare times I say read the comments, more suggestions and minimal flamage.


The University of South Carolina is holding a crowdfunding campaign to digitize its collection of Marine Corps films. “University of South Carolina Libraries Moving Image Research Collections (MIRC) is working to preserve, protect and share online nearly 10,000 reels of 20th century U.S. Marine Corps films — and we’re enlisting you to help raise $25,000 to digitize footage filmed at Parris Island, South Carolina. Imagine being able to enjoy these historic films online….will you see friends, family members or forgotten comrades? Will you see yourself and old familiar places…and recall memories of your time as a recruit at the Depot?” They’re trying to raise $25K. They’ve raised about $5K and only have 18 days left.

Washington Post: For the ‘new yellow journalists,’ opportunity comes in clicks and bucks. “Fewer than 2,000 readers are on his website when Paris Wade, 26, awakens from a nap, reaches for his laptop and thinks he needs to, as he puts it, ‘feed’ his audience. ‘Man, no one is covering this TPP thing,’ he says after seeing an article suggesting that President Obama wants to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership before he leaves office. Wade, a modern-day digital opportunist, sees an opportunity. He begins typing a story.”

From Aeon, and I apologize for the swearing in the headline: Shitloads and zingers: on the perils of machine translation. “I am a professional translator, having translated some 125 books from the French. One might therefore expect me to bristle at Google’s claim that its new translation engine is almost as good as a human translator, scoring 5.0 on a scale of 0 to 6, whereas humans average 5.1. But I’m also a PhD in mathematics who has developed software that ‘reads’ European newspapers in four languages and categorises the results by topic. So, rather than be defensive about the possibility of being replaced by a machine translator, I am aware of the remarkable feats of which machines are capable, and full of admiration for the technical complexity and virtuosity of Google’s work. My admiration does not blind me to the shortcomings of machine translation, however.”

You may have seen some mentions of the archive shutting down. I was never involved in it and didn’t know much about it, so I didn’t have a good idea why its shutdown was such a big deal. This article in Quartz gave me a really good overview. “The collections of Spotify and Apple Music may seem infinite, but had thousands of albums that were not available anywhere else—and now, are not available anywhere at all. The site had about 800,000 artists as of early 2016…. Perhaps most importantly, all of this music was organized by a large community collectively obsessed with musical metadata. Album, track, and artist names were meticulously edited, organized, and collated.”


Look out for low bridges, falling rocks, and fake Googles. “Google Analytics has become a great target for spammers, where they leave fake traffic that draws unwary web site owners to investigate where it came from. This week one of those spammers left a ‘Vote for Trump‘ message in many people’s analytics reports. What most people didn’t notice was that the website it referenced looked like…but it wasn’t.”

Michigan State University has suffered a data breach. “Michigan State University has confirmed that on Nov. 13 an unauthorized party gained access to a university server containing certain sensitive data. The database, which contained about 400,000 records, included names, social security numbers and MSU identification numbers of some current and former students and employees. It did not contain passwords or financial, academic, contact or health information.”

The Department of Defense is extended its bug bounty program. “Building on the success of the ‘Hack the Pentagon” bug bounty pilot in which hackers from across the country were provided legal authorization to spot vulnerabilities in specific Department of Defense networks in return for cash payments, the Department of Defense (DoD) today unveiled two new initiatives designed to further enhance the DoD cybersecurity.”


This is a big reason I favor municipal Internet. From Ars Technica: When a city has gigabit Internet, prices for slower speed tiers drop. “The mere presence of gigabit Internet speeds in a metro area drives down the price of plans with slower speeds, according to new industry-funded research. Thus, the data suggests that even customers who don’t purchase gigabit Internet benefit from its availability. This research also found—to no one’s surprise—that having more ISPs in a particular region drives prices down and that the presence of fast speeds encourages other ISPs to offer higher-speed plans to match their competitors.” Here I sit with my mighty 3Mbps Internet, trying to hold out for Google Fiber….

Wharton: Fake News, Hate Speech and Social Media Abuse: What’s the Solution? “Google, Facebook and Twitter last week vowed to fight fake news, hate speech and abuse in their own ways amid the backlash over how such content may have influenced voting in the U.S. presidential election. Those actions could have come sooner, and many troubling issues persist, according to experts.”

Washington Post: Call it a ‘crazy idea,’ Facebook, but you need an executive editor. “[Mark] Zuckerberg may not want to call this person an editor, since he has been insistent that Facebook isn’t a media company. He sees it as a technology company, a platform for connectivity. And indeed, Facebook itself does not produce news content but merely allows its community members to share their own offerings — whether baby pictures or hoaxes about political candidates. That’s fine. Call this person the chief sharing officer or the engagement czarina. Whatever the title, Facebook needs someone who can distinguish a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph from child pornography and who can tell a baseless lie from a thoroughly vetted investigative story.” Good morning, Internet..

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